BIOVEXO goes to Mallorca I

BIOVEXO goes to Mallorca I

1st part of the report from BIOVEXO trip to Mallorca on Dec. 1-3rd, 2021.

Mallorca – a dream island?

Mallorca should need very little introduction to most Europeans: a warm Mediterranean island ca. 250 km east of Spain, known for its diverse architecture, including from the Muslim period, for iconic beaches and great vacation offers for young and old, for hikes in its mountain range Serra de Tramuntana, and for a number of great local culinary products.

Xylella fastidiosa in Mallorca

As is the case in Apulia, Italy, Mallorca has been hit by the arrival of the Central American bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. The bacteria is estimated to have arrived on Mallorca around 10-15 years ago. Whereas in Apulia olive trees have been hit hard, in Mallorca, the impact on olive trees is still relatively mild. Yet, there is a serious danger that the situation might change. Should that happen, it would be very difficult to contain the problem, especially should Xylella spread to the monumental olive trees and other orchards, like almonds orchards in Serra de Tramuntana.

Blossoming almond trees in Serra de Tramuntana mountain region in Mallorca

However, public authorities and farmers associations do not think it’s a likely scenario. Their only instructions to olive growers are to keep trees in as a good shape as possible.

Local experts believe this more favorable development may be thanks to the higher elevation of the orchards  meaning that they are not as highly populated by spittlebugs, the insects that transmit the disease.

Another reason might be the different strain of Xylella present in Mallorca (strain multiplex). To date, the worst impacts in Mallorca have been felt in almonds and grapevines, and that’s what the authorities and experts are most concerned about now.

Joan Simonet, Executive Director of ASAJA Mallorca, giving his thoughts on Xylella spread in the Mediterranean region ©RTDS Group

Involvement of BIOVEXO

Pilar Puig with an olive tree in Mallorca ©RTDS Group

BIOVEXO develops solutions to limit the impact of the disease on the trees affected, as well as to limit the transmitting power of the insects spreading the bacterium. Solutions are based exclusively on biological products and processes. The consortium comprises 11 partners from research, industry and SMEs from all over Europe, with Mallorca represented by Aimerit and its owner Pilar Puig.

BIOVEXO impact beyond agriculture

Serra de Tramuntana is a UNESCO acknowledged cultural landscape characterized by terrasses for olive production and for irrigation. Mallorca’s main challenge is how to preserve its beauty and heritage while introducing necessary innovations to keep pace with the modern world, believes Tomeu Deya-Canals, former Managing Director of Tourism Promotion Agency of Mallorca.

Tomeu Deya-Canals explaining the agricultural, cultural and economic interlinks in Mallorca
Tomeu Deya-Canals explaining the agricultural, cultural and economic interlinks in Mallorca ©RTDS Group

In Mallorca, the success of BIOVEXO is not critical only for farmers but also for the survival of the downstream sectors like oil pressing and oil production. In the moment, production of olive oil in Mallorca, including in its traditional local manufacturas, is stable, as quality oil is becoming more trendy and sales to tourists make an ever-growing proportion of the income of inhabitants of mountainous villages.

Olive grove of family Deya-Canals in Sóller ©RTDS Group
Traditional oil mill operated by family Deya-Canals in Sóller. The family has operated the mill since the beginning of 16th century. ©RTDS Group

Final thoughts

The BIOVEXO project’s work on Mallorca will include field trials of its innovative biopesticides over the next two years. If you’d like to follow the work of the BIOVEXO project and stay up to date on the fight against Xylella, please sign up to our Newsletter and follow us on TwitterInstagramLinkedin, or Facebook.


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